19 October 2019
More than 300 Vietnam veterans and their family members attended a health and wellbeing expo organised by Veterans’ Affairs in Lower Hutt today.
Veterans’ Affairs, working in partnership with Ranfurly Veterans Trust, brought together 20 veteran support agencies, providers, and support organisations. Vietnam veterans living in the Lower North Island were invited to the expo, which featured support and services in a “one-stop shop”.
Veterans met Veterans’ Affairs case managers, veteran support agencies, and local service providers, received a quick health check, and were offered seminars and tools to support independent daily living.
Head of Veterans’ Affairs Bernadine Mackenzie said bringing together Veterans’ Affairs and affiliated organisations in one place was a great way for Vietnam veterans to get information face to face.
“We hosted this event because we know that there’s value in sitting down with our veterans and talking to them about what they need,” she said.
“It helps us to make sure that they’re getting the support they need for independent daily living.”
The event followed on from other Vietnam veteran expos held this year.
The focus was on supporting the veterans in ways that suited them best, Ms Mackenzie said.
“We held expos in Christchurch and Auckland earlier this year, which were very successful in getting Vietnam veterans connected with us and accessing support.
“We’re keen to encourage all those who served in Vietnam to register with us so they can access their entitlements, and this weekend’s event has helped us to connect to those in the group who are living in the lower North Island.”
The expo was an initiative that honours the Crown’s 2006 Memorandum of Understanding that recognises specific health concerns by Vietnam veterans.
Vietnam veterans who are not currently accessing veteran support are encouraged to contact Veterans’ Affairs through the website www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz or 0800 483 8372.
Organisations in attendance:
• Age Concern
• Aon NZ
• Bay Audiology
• Body of Work NZ
• Bronze Plaques NZ Ltd.
• HealthCare New Zealand
• Independent Living
• Ministry of Social Development
• My Ride Wellington and Hutt Valley
• New Zealand Defence Force Financial Hub
• Perpetual Guardian
• The Ranfurly Veterans’ Trust
• Royal New Zealand Artillery Association Inc.
• Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association
• Sport Wellington
• Unichem Pharmacy
• Viet Nam Veterans and their Families Trust
• Vietnam Veterans’ Association
• Vietnam Veterans’ Children’s and Grandchildren’s Trust
• Veterans’ Affairs